Members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter marked the sorority’s 101st year with a special ceremony honoring the sorority’s first national president, Dr. Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander and the awarding of a $2,000 scholarship to a promising University of Pennsylvania law student. The event took place on Jan. 2, at West Laurel Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd.
More than 100 members of the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter were joined by Dr. Rae Alexander-Minter, daughter of the late Sadie T. M. Alexander, and invited community guests at West Laurel where Alexander was laid to rest following her death in November 1989. The ceremony was held on what would have been Alexander’s 116th birthday.
In a beautiful and solemn ceremony, Alexander-Minter, accompanied by Robin Jacobs, Delta Sigma Theta’s Eastern region director, and Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter President Maxine C. Harvey, laid a standing wreath of red and white flowers, the sorority’s official colors, at Alexander’s gravesite. Following a litany of remembrance and a moving solo by Delta member Dawn Morgan-Moore, several doves were symbolically released as Vivian Drayton, the chapter’s chaplain, led a prayer.
The ceremony was followed by a luncheon at West Laurel’s conservatory where guests heard remarks from Jacobs, Harvey and former School District of Philadelphia superintendent Dr. Constance Clayton, a former Eastern Region director, who enjoyed a close relationship with Alexander. These distinguished sorority members reflected upon Alexander’s extraordinary life, which featured her pioneering achievements.
Alexander was the first African-American woman to earn a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and the first African-American woman in the nation to earn a Ph.D. in economics. Alexander was also one of nine coeds at the University of Pennsylvania to charter Delta Sigma Theta’s third chapter, Gamma Chapter, in 1918. The following year, she was elected the sorority’s first national president, a role she held until 1923. During her administration, she introduced several key initiatives that remain a part of Delta Sigma Theta’s core programming today, including May Week, which emphasizes the importance of higher education in the community. Alexander was also one of 11 women in 1927 who chartered Xi Sigma Chapter, which would eventually be renamed Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter. Today, the chapter has grown to more than 600 members committed to serving people throughout Philadelphia.
All in attendance were moved by Alexander-Minter’s remarks, which touched upon Sadie T.M. Alexander’s impact locally and globally. She spoke lovingly of her mother’s accomplishments and also lauded her father, the late Raymond Pace Alexander, a Harvard Law School graduate who became a judge in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia. Alexander-Minter encouraged those in attendance to keep the work of her parents who were widely-known for their civil rights advocacy and community engagement alive.
It was only fitting that during this event to celebrate a woman committed to education, that a deserving student would be recognized for her academic and civic success. The Legacy of Love Foundation Inc., a 501 (c )(3) founded by members of the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter in 1992, presented a $2,000 scholarship to Erica Holland, a second year student at the University of Pennsylvania. The award will be given for five years to a University of Pennsylvania law student.
The event closed with a proclamation reading by Philadelphia City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, C. Gloria Akers, co-chair of Delta Sigma Theta’s National Heritage and Archives Commission and Victoria A. Mosley Rivers, chair of the Philadelphia Alumnae’s Council of Presidents. Both Akers and Rivers served as co-chairs of the tribute to Dr. Sadie T. M. Alexander.
Delta Sigma Theta was founded on Jan. 13, 1913 by 22 women at Howard University. Today, the sorority has more than 200,000 members and 1,000 collegiate and alumnae chapters domestically and internationally. Last July, more than 38,000 members attended the sorority’s 51st National Convention in Washington, D.C.
Congratulations and very best wishes are extended to the proud members of Delta Sigma Sorority Inc., Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter.
Have a fantastic week “Out & About” everyone!
The Circle-Lets Inc., Philadelphia Chapter said goodbye to 2013 and hello to 2014 as a group at an intimate party for members, friends and family at the Flourtown Country Club.
Wilhelmina Jackson, club president, extended a warm welcome to everyone and thanked the entertainment committee, Rene Allen, Leslie Tanner Moore and Gloria Williams for doing such a fabulous job.
Yvonne Delaney Mitchell and Charles Mitchell of New York, where Yvonne is, New York Amsterdam News society columnist, were the guests of president, Wilhelmina, and her Circle-mate Jarrett Jackson. Club vice president Coralie Barksdale and Dr. Gregory Barksdale were also “Out & About,” having a great time.
The newest members in the circle of friends attending were Judge Petrese Tucker and her “Circle-mate, Judge Leon Tucker; Norma Moore and her lovely granddaughter Erika Reeves; Linda Stephens andCircle-mate Darryl Stephens and their guests, Judge Steven Tolliver and wife Dorothy “Tee” Tolliver and Sandra Booth, whose Circle-mate is Christopher Booth.
I had great fun seeing my childhood friend and fellow Circle-Let member Leslie Tanner Moore and Jerome Culmer and great friends Louis and Elaine DeVaughn. I was delighted to see another childhood friend, Constance Booth Shannon, and her husband Robert Shannon, of Atlanta. Circle-Let Nancy Jean Sewell, whose mother, Jean Sewell, and sister, Vivian Sewell, are also club members, was joined by Dr. Albert Mitchell and Kittura Dior.
Henri Moore, whose Circle-mate is Anthony Moore, was joined by Scheryl Glanton and Robert Mitchell. Judge Frederica Massiah-Jackson joined Circlet-Let Mary “Bunny” Hughes.
Tanya Deyo and her husband David Gray were guests of Candyce Wilson and her husband Melvin Wilson. Robert W. Williams, III, Susan Brown Gilmore, Marjorie Chew and Dr. Charles and Ruth Bridges were guests of Circle-Let Gloria Williams.
Deborah Chew James was joined by her sister and brother-in-law, Diane and Page Bowser, brother Ramsey H. Chew and his fiancé, Kristine Bowks.
Renee Allen and Circle-mate Wesley Allen had loads of fun with Rene’s parents, John and Shirley Willis, and their guests, Phoebe Haddan, Frank McClellan, Aretha Mondesire and Gregory Sheet Jr.
Other Circle-Lets, Circle-mates and significant others having a great time “Out & About” were Willadine Bain, JoAnn Bradley, Dr. Donald and Sharon Parks, Paul and Maxine Coker, Dr. Wifreda Baugh, Drs. Linda and Frederick Nunes and Leslie Cousins and Jerome Mond.
Among other guests seen on the dance floor, dining deliciously and enjoying the evening were Percencia Johnson, Ann and Harold Hairston, Lloyd and Charles Mitchell, Reginald Johnson, Anne Waiters, Jean Waiters, Gerri and Clarence Woods and Natalie Bain and Dr. Mark Allen.
Other members of the Circle-Lets. Inc. Philadelphia Chapter are Carol Carson, Joylette Hylick, Regina Devero Meacham, Valerie Robinson.
Have a fantastic week “Out & About” everyone!
On Jan. 7, I wrote about Ye Olde Philadelphia Club’s annual holiday party. Please note the following corrections: Stephanie Marsh Golson is the wife of club member Byron Golson, and Marie Golson is the wife of club member Eugene Golson. Also, Ye Olde Philadelphia Club members Everett A. Gillison and Judge Steven Tolliver were incorrectly referred to as guests.
The tradition of pleasing palates for a great cause continued at the 22nd Annual Philly’s Men Are Cookin’ (PMAC) on Nov. 16. The popular event is organized annually by The Ivy Legacy Foundation (TILF). Dr. Robyn Jones serves as president of the foundation, the charitable arm of Philadelphia’s Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Rho Theta Omega Chapter. Jones stated, “The Ivy Legacy Foundation has been able to award in excess of $250,000 in scholarships because of the fundraising success of Philly’s Men Are Cookin’ and the generosity of private donors. This year The Shops at Liberty Place was a brand new venue which was an intimate elegant backdrop for a palpably energized crowd, abuzz with the tastes, the sights and the sounds that are Philly’s Men Are Cookin’, Philadelphia’s Premier Celebration of Taste.”
“The evening’s proceeds will help to fund existing scholarships as well as a new scholarship honoring the late E. Steven Collins, who served as a foundation board member and chef extraordinaire for many years,” Jones said.
Approximately 130 professional and amateur chefs from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Ohio participated this year. They served a delicious variety of seafood, poultry, meats, side dishes, desserts, libations and more for nearly 500 attendees.
I spoke with Kurtis “K. P.” Gamble, a young professionally trained chef and mixologist who has participated in PMAC for the last three years, about his dish and motivation to be involved in the event. “This is a great way to support the African-American Community. It is also a great opportunity for people to sample my cooking,” he shared. Gamble, whose catering business is located in Philly’s Chestnut Hill neighborhood, created a tasty Thanksgiving appetizer. Mouth watering turkey, savory stuffing, fresh greens and cranberry sauce were delicately sandwiched on a bite size potato roll … delicious!
Executive officers serving with Jones are Mary Houston, chairman; Dr. Naomi Johnson Booker, vice president of programs; Shariah Dixon-Turner, vice president of finance; Tracey McLaughlin, treasurer; Karima Bouchenafa, secretaryand Kristina Fripps, financial secretary.
Board Members are Dr. Milika Singleton , Kimberly Houston and Celia Berry. Carole Chambers serves as Rho Theta Omega Liaison and members ofthe advisory board are Joan Simpson Vann, William A. Smith and Craig Williams.
The primary mission of TILF is to raise scholarship dollars for college bound students. Since TILF was founded in 1995, the foundation has awarded significant scholarships. TILF also supports additional charities and community-based organizations in the Philadelphia region. Among the charities and organizations supported by TILF in previous years are Girls Inc., the Linda Creed Breast Cancer Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Association, IVY AKAdemy (A teen mentoring program), Philabundance and Women’s Way.
Congratulationsto 2013 Philly’sMen Are Cookin’Chairwomen, Dr. Quinetta Roberson and Shariah Dixon Turner and everyone who helped to make this another successful and enjoyable event.
Have a fantastic week “Out & About” everyone!
Shalimar Blakely and Jay Thomas were married on a spectacular beach at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort and Spa on Sept. 21. The bride’s father, Robert Sair, escorted his daughter to her waiting groom as, “A Thousand Years” by the Piano Guys played. Carol-Ann S. Skepple officiated the late afternoon ceremony. Shalimar was elegant in her white organza bridal gown with a court train and appliqués. She carried a bouquet of 24 white stem roses hand tied in white satin ribbon.
Shalimar, 35, is the daughter of Claudette Blakely and Robert Sair. The native Philadelphian is a magna cum laude graduate of Temple University where she majored in strategic and organizational communications. Shalimar is currently the executive director of The African-American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ and DE.
Jay, 47, is the son of the late John and Charlotte Thomas. The native Philadelphian received his undergraduate degree from Penn State University where he was marketing major. Jay also earned an M.B.A in Business Health from Eastern University and is currently employed as a hospital coordinator at AmeriHealth New Jersey. He also serves as a Deacon at Holy Cross Baptist Church.
The Wedding Party
Shalimar’s attendants were her maid of honor Chandra Blakely, and Lori Thomas, who served as a bridesmaid. Jay’s best man was Lance Stokes and Porfirio Medina and Robert Roseboro were groomsmen.
The newlyweds, their family and guests enjoyed a garden cocktail reception with Mother Nature providing a beautiful sunset and ocean view. Everyone danced to music played by a live steel band. The wedding reception took place at the resort’s outdoor “Reflection Pool” with white stones and marble making the water shine like stars. Shalimar and Jay joyously danced their fist dance as husband and wife to Jeffery Osborne’s classic, “Love Ballad.”
How They Met
Jay and Shalimar were employed by the same employer and communicated in their respective jobs via email, but never met face-to-face. They finally met in person while volunteering at a United Way “Days of Caring” event. Not only did they choose the same location to volunteer, but a mutual friend also chose the same location and took the opportunity to introduced them to each other. Jay didn’t say anything that day, but the next email he sent to Shalimar was not work related. It was, as Shalimar shared, “The most polite request for dinner.”
Shalimar took Jay to Atlantic City for his birthday where they enjoyed dinner at his favorite restaurant. After dinner Jay wanted to go for a walk along the ocean shore. Jay was so nervous that he forgot how to get outside even though they had been there before. I was distracted by the casino activity and didn’t even notice. Once they finally reached the beach, Jay wanted to move closer to the water. It was a little dark, so Shalimar hesitated but eventually complied. Jay started to say the most wonderful things about their relationship and left her speechless. Then, on bended knee Jay asked Shalimar to be his wife. He completely caught her off guard because she was so focused on the weekend being completely about him. Her answer was yes!
Reflections - In their words
Shalimar said, “On the day of the wedding, people couldn’t believe how calm I was. On the night before the big day, I watched my husband as he was deep in thought. When he finally came out of it, he said, ‘Wow, I’m about to marry the girl of my dreams.’ What girl would be nervous about marrying a man who says things like that? Having family and friends, on such a beautiful island to help us celebrate this special day was truly a blessing. Everyone made us feel special and made the day effortless. That day was filled with so many priceless moments and was truly a blessing.”
Jay said, “I didn’t think I would be nervous. I was all day long. I ate breakfast with one of my groomsmen and we had a long talk. I went back to my room to try and relax before it was time to get ready. I was so anxious, I could not relax. I was alone and just thinking of how much God has blessed me but wasn’t comforted by those thoughts. It was not until it was time to get dressed and my groomsman Rob asked me was I OK. I said no, and he said come in his room. We opened the bottle of champagne in his room and had a drink to calm my nerves. It helped a little. I had to stop and pray. God helped me get through my anxiety.”
Shalimar and Jay honeymooned at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort and Spa for five additional days. They continued to enjoy the natural beauty of the white beaches and turquoise ocean and a variety of restaurants and bars featuring delicious cuisine. They couldn’t have been more pleased with their accommodations. It was the perfect hideaway for late mornings when they enjoyed Antiguan breakfast in the comfort of their room. Shamilar’s favorite part of the honeymoon was doing absolutely nothing. “We had several tours and events planned, but really took advantage of the vacation. Our biggest challenge was whether we would lie by the pool or beach, and trust me, I welcomed that challenge. I remember thinking, why can’t life be a never-ending honeymoon.”
Congratulations and very best wishes are extended to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas.
Congratulations to Ghecora Shareia Woods, originally from Brooklyn, N.Y. and Corey Real Boyd, originally from Norristown, who are pleased to announce their engagement. Ghecora’s parents are Germaine Woods and Corey Adams. Corey is the son of the late Angela Dandridge and Danny Boyd.
Last December, Corey’s mother passed away from breast cancer. Both participated in a breast cancer walk last month and will make it a yearly tradition in her honor. They will also work to promote awareness of the disease through the organizations they are affiliated with.
The couple met as freshmen at Lincoln University in Oxford. and began dating during their junior year in 2008. The inseparable couple graduated from Lincoln in 2009, both earning bachelor’s degrees in biology and criminal justice. They currently work in Philadelphia in their respective professions in health care and social work.
Ghecora became a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Delta Delta chapter, in spring 2007 and is now a member of Beta Delta Zeta Chapter, Philadelphia Graduate Chapter. Corey became a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., Zeta Iota Iota chapter in spring 2013.
Ghecora and Corey are the parents of a beloved one year old son Cayden Boyd. They are excitedly planning a fall 2014 wedding. Cayden is certain to play an especially important role on Ghecora and Corey’s very special day. They have not decided on a location yet but have been considering a destination wedding in Puerto Rico. Wherever they decide to marry, they are wished all the best.